It’s like baseball. Life is like baseball. Before you can ever get a hit, you’ve got to step up to the plate. When you step up to the plate you’ve got to swing … And you keep swinging.
~Billy Ray Cyrus
According to the description for this video, this song was transferred from a 45 RPM record from the 1960s. Listening to it certainly makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time. I get this mental image of men in colorful jackets and women in knee-length skirts walking excitedly towards Cleveland Stadium.
This song is wonderfully lively and energizing, which seems appropriate given the subject of the song. Listening to this a few times has been a fun way to start out the day.
I hadn’t heard of Smash prior to discovering this tune, but from what I can tell, it was a television series in 2012-2013 about a group working to put on a Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. This song was performed in the pilot episode of the series and, in the context of the musical, takes place when Joe DiMaggio sees Marilyn’s picture in a magazine and asks her out. Marilyn goes to the ball field to check things out and sings this bit with the New York Yankees.
It’s been a week since Opening Day, but the season feels new enough that this song still feels appropriate. I really love the line about being “a kid once more.”
The members of Soundgarden readily admit that this song isn’t really about Ty Cobb at all, but rather, the song was written with myriad difficult individuals in mind. The lyrics still fit what we know about Cobb’s delightful personality, however, especially the repetition of the line, “Hard headed f— you all,” throughout the song. I don’t imagine Cobb would have cared for this genre of music, though I can easily imagine him jumping into the stands to go after a fan with this tune playing in the background.
Here’s a movie I watched as a kid, but not since then — until last night. I finally had the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the 1989 comedy classic, Major League, this time as an adult. I was young enough the first time I watched this movie that I couldn’t really remember the core plot line. Perhaps the thing I remembered most from that first viewing was singing along to “Wild Thing” when Ricky Vaughn took the mound in the division championship game.
My memory did get jogged with regards to some other details. Pedro Cerrano shaving his own head with a massive knife (or a small sword?) had me nodding in recognition. Not to mention the snakes and the almost-chicken-sacrifice. And Willie Mays Hayes dropping to do pushups at the plate during spring training also brought a reminiscent chuckle to my lips.
One thing I did not recall, likely because I was too young to understand it the first time around, was how the new team owner deliberately sought to screw the team over. But, as with any great sports movie, how could I ever forget the Indians’ miraculous winning performance as the season progressed? I definitely appreciated this movie so much more this time. Understanding what is going on can make such an impact.
As for final thoughts, I certainly would not mind enjoying this clip during the seventh inning stretch of the next ballgame I attend, whenever that might be:
During a routine several years ago, Bernie Mac performed his own version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and I really like it. This rendition would be a bit tricky for a stadium of fans to sing along to during the seventh inning stretch, but I do love how this crowd gets into his performance.
While the message of this song is ultimately a sad one, as we head into the cold, dark days of winter, it mostly makes me miss warm weather. It may get too hot for golfing, but one can always take in a ballgame from the climate-controlled comfort of home.
The theme of this tune’s lyrics is really more of a bar fight song than it is a baseball song, but one individual in the comments of the video mentioned they used to blare this during baseball practice. I can certainly see how this would get a team pumped up, and I’m sure many teams have listened to this during their pre-game warmups as well.